Richard Hammond On Joining Top Gear: “I Just Hung Up And Bust Into Tears”
Richard Hammond, a well-known motoring journalist and TV presenter on The Grand Tour and previously Top Gear, has revealed that he cried openly in a pub when he was offered his dream job on the BBC car show. In an interview, Hammond said that he was in a pub in Cheltenham with his wife when he received the call that would change his life.
Richard Hammond’s BBC Top Gear History
Hammond made a name for himself beside Jeremy Clarkson and James May. During his time on the show, Hammond developed a reputation as the lovable and sometimes hapless presenter who could always be relied on to provide an entertaining and insightful take on the world of cars.
Hammond first joined Top Gear in 2002, after several years of working as a presenter on smaller motoring and radio shows and he quickly became a favourite with fans after showing how funny, knowledgable, and daring he could be.
Throughout his 13-year tenure on the show, Hammond was involved in some of Top Gear’s most memorable moments from racing jet fighters to, of course, his crashes.
Unfortunately, Hammond’s time on Top Gear came to an end in 2015, when he, along with fellow presenters James May and Jeremy Clarkson, left the show in the wake of the well-publicised ‘fracas’.
The Call From Top Gear Which Made Hammond Cry
The call was from John Bentley, the then-producer of Top Gear who eventually moved to the Gadget Show, He told Hammond that they were interested in having him on the show. Hammond was ecstatic and couldn’t believe that his dream of working on the show was finally coming true.
“I was in a pub in Cheltenham with my wife. My phone rang out of the blue. ‘It’s John Bentley from Top Gear. I think it’s about time we got you on our show. Do you want to come down and have a chat’. I went ‘yes when tomorrow?’. “I just hung up and burst into tears. This is it. It’s happening finally’.”
Driving To Birmingham For His Top Gear Audition
“I managed to coax [my battered old Porsche] all the way to London from Cheltenham so that had caught their eye first and then I did the audition that went quite well,” Hammond said on the Diary Of A CEO Podcast.
“Then I said ‘great seeing you all but I have got to go back to the Nam, Cheltenham’. Jeremy always says that’s why they gave me the job. Me saying ‘got to go back to the Nam, Cheltenham’ got me the Top Gear job .”
After driving to Birmingham for a chat and being told he was right for the role, his contact left the BBC, and the offer disappeared. Hammond thought that his dreams were shattered, but he decided to audition for the role anyway, even though he was told that the role was probably going to a woman.
He managed to make an impression on the Top Gear team during the audition and was eventually offered the job. When he received the call that he had been selected, he was overwhelmed with emotion and broke down in tears.
“Mindy was with me and the phone rang. It was one of those old telephones,” he said.
“It didn’t have a number on it but I looked at the phone and said to Mind, ‘that’s them’. I just knew it was. I answered the phone and Gary Hunter who was executive producer of series one. ‘Would you like to join our team you have got the job’.
“I put the phone down and burst into tears again. Then I rang him back and said ‘ the little Brummie fella, are you sure?’”
Hammond said that the job changed everything for him and he knew that it was going to be a turning point in his life:
“We sat on the back wall of our house, drank the champagne and I said ‘Mind I think this will change everything’ and it did. Blind luck”
Hammond’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and never giving up on your dreams, even when it seems like they will never come true. It also shows that sometimes, blind luck can play a significant role in shaping one’s life.